The senior Congress leader, who has behaved tyrannically all his life, now talks about liberty and justice
If a Martian had landed at the Congress headquarters in New Delhi at 7.45 p.m. on August 20, he would have concluded that the greatest champion of individual liberty on earth was Congress leader and former Union minister P. Chidambaram. So impressive was Chidambaram’s speech at the press conference that not just the Martian but even many educated Indians would have seen him as a descendant of John Stuart Mill and Lord Acton. Except that he is not; he is indeed an enemy of freedom.
But his statement first. Hiding from investigative agencies for about 27 hours in connection with corruption cases, and appearing dramatically at the party office, Chidambaram said, “I believe the foundation of democracy is liberty. If asked to choose between life and liberty, I would choose liberty.” The great patriot Bhagat Singh could not have spoken better.
The Indian politician’s propensity to speechify is infinite. Similarly, his hypocrisy knows no bounds. He can deliver an excellent sermon on the nobility of chaste life—emerging right from a brothel
But Chidambaram is no patriot; in fact, his actions have against national security, if not exactly traitorous. He birthed and popularized the concept of Hindu terror. The jury is on the subject whether it exists. In his zeal to malign Hindutva, which he thought would improve the prospects of the Congress, he did not leave any stone unturned. He went to the extent of undermining the national interest when it accused Hindu extremists of carrying out the Samjhauta Express blast in 2007; this was despite the fact that the entire world was convinced of the Pakistan role in it.
On January 7, 2009, the US Department of the Treasury “targeted the support networks of al Qaida and Lashkar-e Tayyiba (LET) in Pakistan by designating four individuals, Fazeel-A-Tul Shaykh Abu Mohammed Ameen Al-Peshawari, Arif Qasmani, Mohammed Yahya Mujahid, and Nasir Javaid… The designated individuals have provided direct support to al Qaida and LET and have facilitated terrorist attacks, including the July 2006 train bombing in Mumbai, India.”
As for his professed love for liberty, the less said the better. Chidambaram was notorious for bullying reporters and threatening media barons; many journalists suffered because of him. He was a senior member of the Union Cabinet when the draconian Section 66A, which muzzled free speech, was conceived and enacted.
Yet, Chidambaram has the cheek to talk about liberty and justice. “I was aghast that I was accused of hiding from the law,” he said at the press conference where he read out his statement but refused to take any questions. He expressed his faith in the law “even if it is applied by an unequal hand” by the investigative agencies.
“Respect for the law can mean only one thing—await [the Supreme Court’s] decision on Friday… Let’s hope the lamp of liberty will shine bright,” he said.
The Indian politician’s propensity to speechify is infinite. Similarly, his hypocrisy knows no bounds. He can deliver an excellent sermon on the nobility of chaste life—emerging right from a brothel. He can teach anybody willing to listen about the virtues of teetolism—just after a session of binge drinking.
He can sing a paean to liberty and justice—after having crushed both all his life. Chidambaram does that with finesse and panache.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.